3 Ways to Make Your Website More Accessible with Myrna Daramy
Episode #38

3 Ways to Make Your Website More Accessible with Myrna Daramy

Show Notes:

Are you ready to make your website accessible for everyone? Let's test your website's accessibility!

Myrna Daramy is an advocate for Digital Media Optimization, encouraging others to create an inclusive and accessible space in their brands. Listen in as she walks us through opportunities for improvement and how we can start optimizing our websites today!

In order to accomplish Digital Media Optimization, you not only have to consider how diverse you are, how inclusive you are, but also how accessible you are.

DMO: Digital Media Optimization (1:50)

Digital Inclusivity: Your digital platforms are accessible to  any and everyone. (3:41)

ADA Compliance (5:53)

Disabilities to consider: Mobility, Hearing Impaired, Hard of Hearing, Vision Loss, Deaf, ADHD, Epilepsy, Cognitive (7:42)

Three Ways to Make Your Website Accessible:

1. Run an automated test to be ADA compliant (9:03)

Wave, ace, Site Improve (only 25% accurate)

Levels of ADA Compliance

A - Lowest Level of Compliance

AA - Industry Standard of 38 Checkmarks

AAA - 100% ADA Compliant

2. Working with your designer or developer to ensure you’re compliant.

Myrna’s checklist

3. Add Active ADA Widget

One Liner: In order to accomplish Digital Media Optimization, you not only have to consider how diverse you are, how inclusive you are, but also how accessible you are. (20:23)

Links:
myrnadaramy.com
Myrna’s checklist
instagram.com/myrnapdaramy
Active ADA Widget

Review the Transcript:

Jess Ekstrom:
Welcome back to Business on the Bright Side. Today, we are going to go over three ways to make your website accessible. I am so thrilled that my current website, Jessekstrom.com, now has 100% score in accessibility rating, and it is all thanks to our guest today, Myrna Daramy.

Jess Ekstrom:
So, Myrna is a digital media optimization expert. She calls it DMO expert for short, and she helps small businesses optimize their marketing strategies across all digital platforms, and also just overcome your fear of tech, which I know she's done that for me. You can also take Myrna's prompt pathway on Bright Pages called create your digital brand. So, she's going to walk you through seven questions that you need to ask yourself to build your digital brand. So without further ado, let's welcome Myrna.

Jess Ekstrom:
What's up, everybody? It is Jess Ekstrom and welcome to Business on the Bright Side, the podcast where you can learn how to make a living and make a difference at the same time. Life is short and so is my attention span, so let's get started.

Jess Ekstrom:
All right, so Myrna and I met through, was it Share the Mic Now? That was how we got going?

Myrna Daramy:
It was Share the Mic Now, yep.

Jess Ekstrom:
Yeah, and little did we know it was going to be love at first sight, and that you wouldn't be able to get rid of me.

Myrna Daramy:
I told her that she was stuck with me and she was like, "Ah, no, you're stuck with me."

Jess Ekstrom:
Yep.

Myrna Daramy:
It was agreed, it was-

Jess Ekstrom:
It was agreed upon, but I've loved the work that you've done in ... people know the term SEO, but you have really coined the term DMO. You want to tell people what DMO is real quick?

Myrna Daramy:
Absolutely. So DMO stands for digital media optimization, because in this day and age, it is not just about your website, it's not just about all your digital touchpoints, like your social media, it's about all of it playing a role in how you can optimize how someone can connect with you and your business.

Jess Ekstrom:
That was something I had no idea about. I was like, "Oh, I created a pretty website. That's enough, right?" But you have taught me not just about creating a web and mapping out my whole customer journey and where I want people to land, what I want to be known for. A lot of people think of tech and they think of internet speed, but it is more about the character of who you are and what you do.

Myrna Daramy:
Yeah, it is the entire journey of someone engaging with you in the digital space. So I call it a holistic approach, because just like with everything, you can't just think that you can put all eggs in one basket, you pretty much have to look at it all in order to really, really assess and actually be able to diagnose how you're doing and then also moving, what you may need to do in the future. So, it's a big deal.

Jess Ekstrom:
What you have really stepped into recently, which is why I was like, "Myrna, we got to get you on the show, because this is freaking incredible," is digital inclusivity. I mean, the more websites that are out there, the more we are on our computers and on our phones, the more just people that we're going to reach. Not everyone is going to have those same capabilities of reading small text on our website, or if you have a flashing logo that's animated, what that might do to some people.

Jess Ekstrom:
So, tell us a little bit about what is digital inclusivity and how did you get started? Then we'll get into some tips of how our listeners can do the same.

Myrna Daramy:
Of course. So, digital inclusivity is another one of those coin phrases that I've kind of come up with, actually Jess, you helped me with that, in just understanding the current climate we're in in today's day and age. Because with all of the talk about diversity and inclusion and people wanting to have a business that's representative of a lot of different people, there's another aspect to this called accessibility.

Myrna Daramy:
I think people tend to not realize that you also not only need to be inclusive and diverse, but you also want to make sure that your website and your web presence is accessible to anyone. Someone who has any vision impairment or hard of hearing or any type of hearing loss, people who have cognitive abilities and even people who have mobility issues. So, you want to make sure that you're able to not just reach and interact and engage with people who are outside of your demographic and are more diverse than you, but you also want to make sure that you're more accessible to everyone so that people can access the information you're putting out on the web.

Jess Ekstrom:
I was so glad that you and I connected when I was at a crossroads with my website, where I was leaving my original website, creating my new jessekstrom.com and having my podcast website, because I felt like meeting you then, we were kind of at ground zero to creating something and I could think about accessibility. But you also, we'll get to this a little bit later, have a tool that really can help with accessibility.

Jess Ekstrom:
But for people who are just getting started, they have a website, a blog, a contact page, whatever it might be, a podcast page, let's get into three ways that people can make sure that their website is accessible. Because it was something that, again, I never really thought of until we had a few emails from people who were either hard of hearing that needed information that they weren't able to get, where I was like, "Oh my gosh, we need to do something about this." So, step one you say is run a test. So, how would someone run a test to make sure that they are ADA compliant? Also, what is ADA compliance?

Myrna Daramy:
Yeah, I was about to say [inaudible 00:05:49].

Jess Ekstrom:
Yeah.

Myrna Daramy:
So, ADA compliance is actually something that was created ... it was an act created in 1990, which is more deemed toward public physical accommodation spaces, right? So, this might be the time when you started to see all the handicap accessible parking lots being filled up with parkings to be there or buildings having ramps, because they wanted to make sure that people with any disabilities, more physical though, were able to be accommodated for.

Myrna Daramy:
But you fast forward to today, and especially after the pandemic, the question of public accommodation became very, very gray, because people were not able to go to physical spaces anymore, so now the only place that they could actually interact or engage with any type of business was online. So, it kind of ramped up the whole concept of what ADA compliance means in the digital space.

Myrna Daramy:
So today, as a matter of fact, what's happened is recently there's been some upgrades and some guidelines, and those guidelines are more geared toward making websites more accessible. So people have gotten, I guess, more wind of it, and so that's why accessibility's becoming now a thing and people need to pay attention to it.

Jess Ekstrom:
So when we think about accessibility, I would say like you were saying, the old school way of thinking about it is, is there a wheelchair ramp and can everyone physically get from one location to the other?

Myrna Daramy:
Right.

Jess Ekstrom:
What are some disabilities that from a digital standpoint we should be thinking about? For example, I was on TikTok the other day, and as I was scrolling there was a trigger warning that this next video has a lot of flashing lights that could cause seizures. So they gave you a heads up before you kept scrolling, and I was like, "Oh, that's really great." I didn't even know that that was something that people needed to look out for. So, what are those things?

Myrna Daramy:
So basically it comes down to, of course we have the physical, if someone may not have mobility for a mouse or their fingers to move or they may not even have an arm to actually utilize to actually click on anything. There's that obviously, but there's also, and this is I think the big one people really identify with, if someone is hearing impaired or hard of hearing versus someone who has loss of vision, who someone deemed as blind.

Myrna Daramy:
Those are the obvious ones, but then you also have people who maybe have ADHD, where they need focal points. There may be someone to your point who may have or suffer from epileptic seizures, which is if they have a lot of moving or lights going on, it could trigger that. There's also people who may have difficulty in understanding words or text with dyspraxia so that they see words in a different way.

Myrna Daramy:
So, there are so many other impairment/disabilities that I think people aren't aware of that are more cognitive related, they're more invisible. I think those are the ones when it comes to the digital space, we need to be a lot more accommodating for and be aware of.

Jess Ekstrom:
I love it. That's great information.

Jess Ekstrom:
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Jess Ekstrom:
So step one of three ways to make your site accessible, how would someone be able to run a test on this?

Myrna Daramy:
There are several tests out there that are free. There's companies like WAVE, there's a company aCe, there's another one that's called Siteimprove. They test your website and they literally run your site through the test, because in these guidelines that were created for the web for ADA compliance, there's about 30 to 35 of them that are deemed the ones that they check off to see whether or not your site is ADA compliant. They go through that test and it'll give you a score.

Myrna Daramy:
I do say that with those tests, they're about 25% accurate, in that they're not counting all of the issues of course, but they at least give you a gauger and a starting point to know if there's something that's really off and you need to pay attention to it.

Jess Ekstrom:
What should we be aiming for? Should the expectation for anyone with a website out there be 100%? Are you like, "Okay, I'll get a pass fail. I'll get by with a C," or should you be like, "No, I need to get an A on this accessibility test."

Myrna Daramy:
I know. It's crazy, because this is still shades of gray, because it's not requirement yet. So every state has its own regulations, but there's levels to ADA compliance. There's level A, AA, AAA. AA, which is the middle ground, AA, there's about 38 requirements that are required for you to be what's called industry standard. So, that's the happy medium. I would say that's a goal to kind of go for that, because if you're trying to go to AAA, that means that you're [inaudible 00:11:16], 100% more like a federal government type of body or website, but middle ground is always good.

Jess Ekstrom:
Okay, so run a test, and you said WAVE, Siteimprove, and what was the other one you said?

Myrna Daramy:
aCe.

Jess Ekstrom:
aCe, okay. That those are all free resources, we'll put those in the show notes on businessonthebrightside.com. So, step two is really you said working with your web designer or developer to kind of go through and audit your site. Maybe use what you've learned from that test and see where you can improve or tell us a little bit about what we should do next.

Myrna Daramy:
Exactly, because those tests are going to show to you areas of improvement for sure. For example, I've seen this a lot where companies who have very light colored brands, they're very pale or muted, those companies may have issues, because the contrast in color may deem itself not visible from someone who's color blind. So, that's a clear indication where you can go to your website designer or developer and be like, "Honestly, we need to reconsider how we're branding myself and change the colors a little bit."

Myrna Daramy:
So it could be something to that effect, or it could be something more detailed, where say for example your fonts are very scripty on your website, but you want to make sure they're more legible. So, those are simple changes you can do with your website developer or designer to make your site more accessible. Depending on if you have a lot of movement on your website, you may want to think about eliminating some of that.

Jess Ekstrom:
Tone it down, yeah. Are there any no fly zone colors that we should stay away from?

Myrna Daramy:
So it's sad, but pinks, especially pale blush pinks. I know. A lot of my creative entrepreneurs, those colors, because those are the ones that people can't see. If you've ever thought about it, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all the social media touch platforms and touch points, they all utilize the color blue, because that is the one color that throughout the spectrum people can actually see the variants of color.

Jess Ekstrom:
Wow, I didn't realize that. That is so true. So no pinks, blues, but I want girl power, we don't want-

Myrna Daramy:
Oh, exactly. But if you do use pink, you just got to make sure that it's very vibrant or at least there's some contrast in it. Yeah.

Jess Ekstrom:
Then you have a checklist for your website too, right, that people can use? So, where can people find that checklist?

Myrna Daramy:
So, they can actually go to my website and download it or email me as well. That's another way.

Jess Ekstrom:
We'll put, again, a link to your website with the checklist in the show notes. Businessonthebrightside.com, you guys can find this show, three ways to make your website accessible. So, okay, step one, run a test, we have those free services. Step two, meet with your designer or developer, or if that's you, now there's so many plug and play site builders out there that you might be able to go through and make some of these recommended changes yourself by using the free test and Myrna's checklist. But step three I'm really excited about, because this is something that Myrna helped me do, and that I was one of your ... was I one of your first customers for this?

Myrna Daramy:
Yeah, you were one of my betas.

Jess Ekstrom:
Yes.

Myrna Daramy:
Yes, you were-

Jess Ekstrom:
So, this is called Active ADA. If you go to my website, Jessekstrom.com, and I believe it's also on businessonthebrightside, you can see that widget in the bottom left-hand corner. Myrna, why don't you tell us about this widget, because I am obsessed.

Myrna Daramy:
Yeah, I love it too. It's a little lifesaver that you're looking for. It looks literally like a lifesaver. The goal of this thing, and what it is, is it's an overlay that sits on top of your website that allows for anyone visiting your website to be met where they are. What I mean by that is it allows for them to have the ability to check off areas that they may want assistance with.

Myrna Daramy:
Whether it is that your fonts are too small, they want to enlarge your fonts, whether it is if they want a more focal area because they're ADHD-prone, there's a focal bar that'll come through and allow for them to focus. If they wanted so that the fonts could be changed so that they're more legible, it will do that as well. It also works very well with screen readers, which is what blind people utilize in order to interpret what the website is about.

Myrna Daramy:
So, it's pretty amazing. Again, it meets them where they are. So it's not like you're sitting there trying to manipulate your website to kind of meet their accessibility needs, they are doing it, and so it's giving them that freedom to choose. That's why I love it so much.

Jess Ekstrom:
It is seriously incredible. I mean, the moment you embedded it on our site ... and well, I'll tell a little bit about the journey that I did with you, because we didn't start with the plugin, we started with SEO and kind of optimizing my site. Why was that important to do first before you install the Active ADA plugin? How do you suggest people go about doing this and what is it that you offer that can help?

Myrna Daramy:
Yeah. So yeah, first things first, what we did was we took care of Jess' digi home. What I mean by that is in order for the search engines to connect the dots and actually have people visit her site on a more frequent basis because they are showing you come up in search engines, there are some things and some tactics that we needed to do in order to optimize your site so that you would show up in a ranking of one, two, three, and so forth so people could find you.

Jess Ekstrom:
Which I was blown away by, because you said one time, you were like, "People spend hours on one Instagram post that has a lifetime of an hour." If people spent that same amount of time crafting their Instagram as what they put into SEO, the amount of traffic that you'll get is 10X, which is amazing. Yeah.

Myrna Daramy:
It's the gift that keeps on giving. It is the one converter that will convert for you for years to come, as opposed to a viral post that you may post on some social media platform. I can't say enough about SEO and how important it is, because at the end of the day, it is the end-all be-all, because someone seeing you pop up in a search result will give you so much more cred than any post will. So, I'm all about SEO and that's kind of been something that I've been preaching about for years.

Jess Ekstrom:
When Headbands of Hope made it to page one of if someone searched headbands or whatever, we were like, "We've made it, we're on the first page of Google." I think I used to rank on the first page for college speakers or something like that, where I was like, "Oh, hell yeah." So, yeah.

Myrna Daramy:
It's like that instant gratification of conversion. People automatically trust it and they will click on you. So yeah, that's why I think SEO is still so important and people are still like, "How do I get to page one on Google?"

Jess Ekstrom:
Yeah, totally. Well, okay, so everyone who's listening, you can go to my site, jessekstrom.com, and check out this widget in the bottom left, play with it. It's really cool. You just sent me my certificate that I am ADA compliant.

Myrna Daramy:
Correct, because the test will test for, like I said, those 30 to 38, 35 requirements-

Jess Ekstrom:
Yeah.

Myrna Daramy:
And you've passed all of those.

Jess Ekstrom:
Woo! We'll put a link also in the show notes of this episode if you guys want to learn more about working with Myrna and installing the Active ADA plugin on your site, but I suggest you do a holistic audit of your site. So not just in terms of accessibility, but where do you want people to meet you, keyword search terms. I mean, just even thinking about what would you want someone to put in the search bar to land on your page? You asked me that Myrna and I was like, "Oh shit, I don't even know." I've been doing this for years, and I was like, "What?"

Myrna Daramy:
I know.

Jess Ekstrom:
"Yeah, what are people searching for to find me?" Yeah.

Myrna Daramy:
It's crazy, people don't even think about that. But yeah, I tell people all the time, think about your buyer's journey and think about it from the point of when they don't even know you exist yet, what are they searching for? When they have a clue and they're just like, "Ah, interest," and they start searching for you, and then when they actually have a little bit more experience in your craft and see what they're searching for there too. So it's like a three step process, because you want to kind of fill all of those, because again, the goal is meeting people where they are.

Jess Ekstrom:
I love that. So, okay, just to recap this episode, three ways to make your website accessible. One, run a test, and we have those free testing sites on businessonthebrightside.com. Two, work with your designer or your developer or yourself to go through your website and see where there can be improvements. You can also use Myrna's checklist, which we'll link to you in the show notes as well. Three, if you want to go big, which I highly suggest, is getting Myrna's Active ADA plugin that really optimizes your entire website, which I have on my website.

Jess Ekstrom:
But Myrna, what's any parting words, one thing that people should think about as they step into just getting more visibility, but in an accessible and inclusive way?

Myrna Daramy:
So I think if I could leave with parting words, I would say, look, in order to accomplish DMO, which is digital media optimization, you want to be the most optimized as possible. You not only have to consider how diverse you are, how inclusive you are, but also how accessible you are in order to really, really make an impact.

Jess Ekstrom:
I love it. Where can people find you, Myrna?

Myrna Daramy:
You can find me at Myrna P. Daramy pretty much everywhere online. [inaudible 00:20:49]

Jess Ekstrom:
I'd be disappointed if the digital optimization specialist was not everywhere online. If you were just like, "Actually, I don't have a website," I would be like, "What?"

Myrna Daramy:
Yeah, there you go.

Jess Ekstrom:
Awesome.

Myrna Daramy:
[inaudible 00:21:03].

Jess Ekstrom:
Thanks Myrna.

Myrna Daramy:
Thank you so much, honey.

Jess Ekstrom:
Thanks for listening to Business on the Bright Side with Jess Ekstrom. I love to send out the episodes every Monday with a quick text and a quote from me, so text me the word podcast to (704) 228-9495. That's (704) 228-9495. If you want to see what the show notes are from this episode, head to businessonthebrightside.com. Hit subscribe here, write a review and I'll see you on Monday.

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